Our God is administrating the entire universe. The central point of His administration is seen by the Old Testament picture of the incense alter in the tabernacle from the book of Exodus. Stay with us today as we look at the central point of God’s administration on this Life-Study of the Bible with Witness Lee…a program furnished by Living Stream Ministry and featuring the ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee.
Our God certainly is not a passive God. But rather one that is full of purpose. It’s a common question among believers…and even many unsaved that are not sure about God…that is they want to know…”What is God doing?”…”What is it all about?” Well, I think in this Life-Study that we’ve been enjoying regarding the tabernacle, we really have a full picture of God’s purpose.
In this picture we see that God is not idle. But He is really a God of purpose. He is moving. He is administrating. He is dispensing. He does have an economy. He does have a practice. He does have a move. These are all synonymous words to indicate that God is not idle…He is very busy. And as we’ll see in this program, by the picture of the tabernacle leading us to the reality in Christ…that our God in Christ is very busy. That man would not only be reached by God but man could be brought all the way into God for the sake of God’s testimony.
We hope and pray that every one of you who are listening to this broadcast would all be drawn to this marvelous administrating center which is just the interceding Christ. And that by His intercession you would be motivated very highly to go more deeply into the one whom you love. Not just for your sake…but for His sake: He needs a testimony.
And you mentioned Chris…this is a picture of God’s purpose…this picture of the tabernacle. The tabernacle is not just a tabernacle, but it’s called the tabernacle of the testimony. This means that all that we see by all the furniture in the tabernacle and particularly by the incense alter we see something is happening. God is administrating so that man could experience Him…be brought into Him even to the extent that He and His people are the same in life and nature so that His people could actually be His testimony.
How could we be His testimony unless we get saturated with Him and brought all the way into Him. So this marvelous picture shows what God is busy doing moving into us and moving us into Him for His testimony.
The matter of God blessing His people is so often spoken of in christian circles these days. Popular books detail the right prayer to pray or the latest method of bring ourselves into to a place where God can bless us. Well, surely God does desire to bless His people. Perhaps you’ve prayed such a prayer of faith and God has answered by blessing you with some material possession. But if the Lord would mercifully open our eyes, we would see that even in an Old Testament book like Deuteronomy the highest blessing for God’s people is just Christ Himself…and that we would hold Him fast and live in the sweetness of His presence.
Today…as we look at chapter 11 in Deuteronomy…we see that there is the promise of a marvelous five fold blessing if we keep Christ as the Word of God in some very specific ways. Of course the blessings that are outlined in Deuteronomy were outward…even physical (some of them) or material. And they were conditioned upon keeping the commandment.
But today, the real blessings are spiritual (or we could use the word intrinsic) and we’re going to get into these, but let’s open up by discussing this matter…and that is in order to receive the real blessing God is not looking for us to keep an outward commandment of the law. But to keep Christ as the Word of God.
It’s possible just to have the outward letter of God’s word. For example, in the Old Testament you had all the laws, ordinances and commandments. But actually, they are a picture and a type pointing us to Christ Himself as the reality of the Word of God. In John 5, some of the religious leaders came to the Lord and they were trying to give Him a hard time, but you know what He said? “You search the scriptures because in them you think you have eternal life. But it is these scriptures that testify concerning Me, and you’re not willing to come to Me that you might have life.”
So the real Word of God is the living Word which is just Christ Himself embodied in the written word. So you may have black and white letters, but you may miss the Person. The real blessing in God’s economy is just Christ Himself. God wants to bless us with Himself in Christ. So many we never let anything replace Christ. He is God’s unique blessing.
Moses says “posses the land”, but Paul said “Let’s gain Christ.” So as we take heed to and care for and love Christ as the Word of God, we really enjoy God’s blessing. And this is a real precious blessing. Because we keep Christ then God blesses us and strengthens us to hold fast to Christ. Like Paul said, “…one thing I do…I pursue toward the goal for the prize to which God in Christ Jesus has called me upward.”
So, we’re blessed with the strength and encouragement to go on and possess Christ more. What touches the heart of God more than Christ Himself as the Word of God? The more we keep Christ as the Word of God, the more we have God’s affection…we have God’s dear presence…signified by His eyes.
When Moses was leading the children of Israel through the wilderness, what they would have to eat became a major concern. To sustain and nourish them, God provided a mysterious food called manna. These small round wafers appeared on the ground every morning. And this was their sole diet for 40 years.
1600 years later God brings manna back to His people in the book of Revelation. But this rather than being out in the open as it was in Exodus is hidden in a golden pot within the ark in the holy of holies. What is this hidden manna?
Please don’t miss this classic presentation from the book of Exodus on our Life-study of the Bible with Witness Lee.
Rev 2:17…”He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give of the hidden manna, and to him I will give a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knows except him who receives it.” So the promise in Rev 2:17 to the overcoming believers is that they would enjoy Christ as the hidden manna. In the Old Testament, what the children of Israel were charged to do was to take a portion of that manna…put it in a golden pot…and put that golden pot within the ark in the holy of holies…which is the very center of the entire tabernacle. So that is the hidden manna.
What is the significance of this hidden manna? We’ve seen on previous programs in John 6 that Christ Himself is the very bread who came down out of heaven for us to feed on. In other words, Christ is our spiritual food that we need to enjoy day by day. But when we talk about the hidden manna, we’re talking about enjoying Christ as our spiritual food to bring us into the closest, most intimate, hidden, secret contact with Him. This is our enjoyment of Christ as the hidden manna.
So we need to take the way…day by day…to go into the holy of holies through prayer to enter into our spirit where Christ as the Spirit lives and to enjoy Him as our spiritual food and assimilate Him into our whole being. So that we can enjoy Him in the closest, most intimate, deepest, hidden and even secret way as the hidden manna for His purpose.
This is a great miracle! What a miracle that centuries and centuries ago the children of Israel enjoyed manna sent by God from heaven…in a physical sense. But today, we can enjoy Christ as our manna…as our spiritual food…even as our hidden manna. What a great miracle this is…and what a mystery this is. When that bread came down from heaven, the children of Israel said “What is this? What is it?” And actually that’s the meaning of the Hebrew word “manna.” Manna means “what is it?” Well that’s what Christ is. Who is Christ? Christ is “What is this?”
Christ is a mystery. He’s inexplicable to the people who don’t know Him…the nations. And when we enjoy Him, we become “What is this?” People look at us and they say…”I can’t figure that person out. He’s got the same pressures as me…the same kind of problems. Even I know he’s passing through some suffering right now. But there’s a joy with him; there’s a peace about him. There’s something about him that makes him different. What is this?”
Why do we become like that? We become a testimony…a mysterious testimony of Christ to the people around us by enjoying Christ as manna. By enjoying Christ as…”What is this?” And we become a testimony of the marvelous, wonderful, beautiful, mysterious Christ in this universe.
In John 6:35, the Lord told us “I am the bread of life. I am that bread that came down out of heaven.” We need to realize Christ is the reality of that manna, and in verse 57 He said “He who eats me shall live because of me.” That means we need to eat Christ day by day. And He was not talking about something in the physical realm. Because in 6:63 He said “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
So the way to eat Christ as our spiritual food is to enjoy Him in His words. His words that He speaks to us…they are spirit and they are life. It comes back to this. We christians need to be in the word every day. We need to eat Christ as our spiritual food by eating His word every day. We need to begin the day by having a spiritual breakfast. Some men of God in the past…they had a saying, “No Bible, no breakfast.” This means we need to have our spiritual breakfast before we have our physical breakfast. I would encourage all of you…consecrate yourself to give that first time in the morning to the Lord where you read the word with prayer, in prayer and in a spirit of prayer so that you can enjoy Him as your spiritual food. And as…during the day…you keep your heart turned to the Lord, you will become a mysterious wonderful testimony of Christ to all the people around you, and you will become a factor in their salvation.
In 1983, Witness Lee concluded his life-study of Exodus. It spanned nearly 4 years. It includes 185 messages and nearly 2,000 pages. In the final paragraph of volume #8, he wrote, “I have the full assurance that those who have been with us throughout the years can never be the same. Eternity will reveal what the Lord has been doing within us and among us for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose.” Praise Him for the glorious conclusion of the book of Exodus.
In the whole Bible, there is not one page that describes the redemption of Christ so clearly as in Exodus 12. The passover here is presented to us as a picture of Christ’s redemption. When you look at this picture, you need all the other places to give you the interpretation.
Paul didn’t say “Our lamb has been sacrificed.” Paul said…”Christ our passover has been sacrificed.” What does he mean that “Christ is our passover?” Christ is not only the passover lamb, but He is every point…every aspect…of the passover. And passover here means the judgement of God passes over us.
According to the record in Exodus chapter 12, the passover of God’s judgement was due to the covering of the blood. When we come to Paul’s development, Paul said not only the blood was the passover, but Christ was the passover. Today, God’s judgement passover is due to Christ. This is why Christ is our passover.
What we have here is not only Christ historically coming as our redeemer to fulfill the type of the passover lamb, dying a vicarious redeeming death, bearing our sins in His body on the cross. We also see that this Christ who is the reality of the passover, is for our daily enjoyment. Paul charges us “Keep the feast!”
Christ Himself is the passover feast and all the elements and aspects of it. And Christ is the feast of the unleavened bread, and that was to be…in the Old Testament…seven days of duration. But those seven days indicate the complete and entire course of the Christian life. So when we see the distinction that Paul makes, we do not have less of appreciation for the historical work of Christ. Rather we have more.
And then we can see, from the light in the Word, how Christ is our passover for us to enjoy today day by day. That we should keep the feast. Keeping the feast implies the enjoyment of Christ. A feast is a time of enjoyment. So when we see a fuller view of what is in the Word concerning the passover as a type of Christ, we have light on our path pointing us to the daily continual experience and enjoyment of Christ throughout our whole Christian life. It’s a happy time whenever we can touch and testify concerning the enjoyment of Christ.
When God gave His law to His chosen people, God’s intention was to seek lovers out of these people. We have read some of the verses from Jeremiah, from Isaiah, from Ezekiel and from Hosea. All these four prophets had the concept that considers God as the husband and God’s chosen people as God’s wife. This is the revelation in the Bible.
Even in the New Testament, the thought is still here. Paul said I have betrothed you to a husband…that is Christ. Christ is the husband and the church composed with all the believers is His wife. But many of us never heard that Israel was espoused to God. The ten commandments were a kind of engagement paper. What is engagement? Engagement is to bring two persons into one. Eventually, God and His chosen people all are one through this engagement. Not only so. Even in the proper marriage life after 50 years, you will see mostly the two parties became about the same. In habit, in likes, in dislikes, in character, in slowness, in quickness…all about the same. Eventually, all God’s chosen people will be the same as God!
Leviticus…like several books in the Bible…mentions the ancient disease of leprosy. Why was leprosy given such a tension in God’s revelation to mankind? Well, leprosy is associated with one of the basic factors of man’s sinful condition…and that is rebellion. Who among us is free from rebellion? Maybe not in dramatic outward demonstrations, but within…even in its most subtle manifestations…rebellion lurks perpetually beneath the surface of almost every person.
Rebellion is the topic of today’s life-study of the Bible from Leviticus.
After giving Moses the ten commandments, Jehovah God continued to unveil the details and plans for the tabernacle. In the center of the tabernacle was the ark, the preeminent piece of all the items in the tabernacle. And over the ark was placed a cover or a lid.
This very spot was to become the place…the unique place…where God would meet and speak with man. What does this cover represent today? This holy spot, the propitiation cover, is the focus of our Life-Study of the Bible today with Witness Lee.
The cover of the ark was a most important place in the Old Testament economy. But its importance is not limited to just the Old Testament, because in at least 3 New Testament passages its referred to in the context of our relationship and fellowship with God.
The Old Testament type…of course…is a picture, and the reality is our experience. Actually, the reality of being on this cover where God will meet with us and where God will speak to us…it equals what the New Testament calls the throne of grace.
Because of this cover, we have a way to meet with God.
In the Old Testament, the blood of the sacrifice was poured out on the alter to atone for the sins of the people. This blood…of course…was a precursor of the real blood that was to be poured out for the sins of mankind…the blood of Jesus Christ. But in the Old Testament, there was another need for the blood, and that was it was also to be sprinkled upon the cover of the ark of the testimony in the holy of holies in the deepest part of the tabernacle.
And what was crucial here was not the matter of sins…but the glory of God. The blood sprinkled on the very spot where God met and spoke with man is our focus on today’s Life Study of the Bible with Witness Lee.
In this series of programs dealing with the tabernacle and the ark, we are making the point that far beyond just becoming aware of the doctrines represented by these wonderful types. We’re much more interested in how a vision of what these types represent can help us experience Christ to a greater degree.
Deuteronomy includes a lengthy portion where God through Moses is instituting His divine government among His people Israel. Divine government means government by God and according to what God is. This is called Theocracy. It is neither Democracy (a government according to the opinions of the people) nor is it autocracy (which is government by a dictator or a monarchy).
Many people may be apprehensive about this term because throughout history it has often been misapplied. But according to the Old Testament picture, there IS a genuine theocracy. Maybe not among earthly nations, but certainly among God’s people. A Theocracy that reflects the person of God. The God of love, and of righteousness, and holiness and absolute fairness and justice. We want to keep this view of God. The God who knows man and man’s condition and what he needs to be preserved for His eternal purpose.
In New Testament terms to have an exodus is to get out of the world. However without the graphic picture in the book of Exodus, it is difficult to say just how we are to get out of the world…We need to realize that experientially many MANY believers today have experienced Christ as their passover. God has passed over them. The blood of the Lamb has redeemed them from the righteous judgement of God…But they remain in Egypt still needing to make an exodus so that God’s purpose to have a dwelling place can be fulfilled.
If we care only for the benefits that come to us through salvation, we may be content to remain in Egypt with Christ as our passover lamb. But if we care for God’s economy, not only will WE make our exodus from Egypt, we will be burdened that ALL of Gods people be released from Egypt and to serve God and be one with Him for the building up of the Church as His body to consummate the New Jerusalem.